Critical Archiving: Expenses-Paid PhD Short Course

Join us in Paris from 13-17 September 2021!

If you are a PhD student whose institution belongs to the Dialogues with the Past network (including universities across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Sweden) please consider applying for our forthcoming expenses paid short course on Critical Archiving in Paris from 13 – 17 September 2021.

This course has been a long time in coming, and I’m incredibly excited to be reunited with my dear friends and colleagues Dr Åsa Berggren, Prof Nicolo Dell’Unto, and Dr James Taylor to lead it. More details on the programme are noted below. The deadline for applications is not until 1 June 2021, so there’s plenty of time to prepare! Submit your application via the University of Oslo’s online system, and contact myself or dial-past@iakh.uio.no for more information. Hope to see you in Paris next year!

Critical Archiving

PhD course, Paris, September 13-17, 2021

It has long been established that archives, and the databases and ontologies that underlie them, are deeply political and value-laden. These systems foster power imbalances and, to quote Hughes-Watkins (2018), are “complicit in continuing to uphold oppressive and unequal systems” via their selective approach to knowledge classification and standardisation. Within the archaeological, heritage and arts sectors, Canning (2019) and Boast and Biehl (2011) are amongst those to articulate the genesis of the problems, including our reliance on controlled vocabularies and ontologies which aim to narrow and singularise content using standards set in the colonial era, as well as a lack of opportunity to genuinely manipulate primary records, and to have those manipulations permanently layered into the metadata of the archives. We would contend that these issues are more relevant than ever in a heritage context, as a wide variety of practitioners (in the field, in the museum sector and within the academy) face the challenge of redefining the fundamental value of cultural heritage, and articulating and disseminating their research narratives to be relevant, inclusive and representative of the wider world.

In this course, we ask, how do our ‘traditional’ ontologies and epistemologies hard-bake structural fault lines (often tied to the intersection of complex gender roles or marginalised groups or socio-economic hierarchies) into the very creation of our knowledge of the past? How do we acknowledge our positionality as a discipline and allow for true diversity in the archives we construct about the past? Can digital technologies help us to do this, or are they inevitably part of the problem?

Today, digital media should give us the means to step away from pre-created ontologies to, as Srinivasan puts it, enable “users to create and share metadata according to their own local experiences and Interpretations”. Yet we still tend to strive for a single common standard that ironically obliterates the diversity of the very knowledge traditions—the local ontologies—that we wish to archive. This course aims to extend these debates around the weaknesses and possibilities of the archive (digital and analogue) by exploring emerging efforts to reconfigure archival practice.

Course Work

The course will consist of both seminars and lectures. Before the course starts, each PhD student will prepare a paper for pre-circulation, addressing her or his research project in relation to the course theme. In the course seminars, each paper will be allotted ca. 45 minutes, beginning with the student presenting a 15-minute summary of its contents. One of the other PhD students will be selected in advance as a discussant and comment for about 10 minutes, after which she or he will then chair an open discussion on the paper for approximately 20 minutes.

The participating lecturers will each give a lecture during the course, as well as participating as prime movers in the discussion of PhD presentations. The lectures will give a theoretical background to the topic as well as examples from various fields and areas of expertise. The aim is to foster critical awareness amongst students of the formation of the material they use in their own PhD projects and encourage them to question historical and seemingly axiomatic metadata categories. Through discussions, presentations and site visits, we are keen to engage with the concept of the archive from new, reflective and self-critical perspectives and to explore the possibilities of the digital format to expand and destabilise our understanding of what archives are and can be. The seminar days will be structured with adequate time for spin-off debates and networking opportunities in mind.

Lecturers

Dr Åsa Berggren (Lund University and Sydsvensk arkeologi, Malmö)

Prof Nicolo Dell’Unto (Lund University and Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo)

Dr James Taylor (University of York)

Dr Sara Perry (Museum of London Archaeology)

Credits

1 month or 7 ECTS

Location, Travel and Costs

The Graduate School will finance and arrange travel and accommodation, and supply a daily allowance during the seminar for all participating PhD students who are part of the Dialogues With the Past Network. Two and two PhD students will be accomodated in twin rooms.

Registration

The Graduate school invites all registered PhD students to apply for participation. Please follow this link to apply for the course (in English only). From these applications, c. 15 PhD students will be admitted to the course.

For more information, please contact: dial-past@iakh.uio.no

Important Dates

Application for participation: June 1, 2021. Confirmation on your participation will be sent out shortly after this date.

Submission of working papers (10 pages, Times New Roman 12, Spacing 1,5): August 2, 2021

Digital Pasts and Futures of Archaeology: PhD Short Course

Join us in Rome from 16-20 Sept, expenses paid!

If you are a PhD student whose institution belongs to the Dialogues with the Past network (including universities across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Sweden) or you attend one of the following Indian or South African institutions – North-Eastern Hills University, Nagaland University, HNB Garhwal University, Sambalpur University, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of the Witwatersrand – there is still time to apply for our forthcoming expenses paid short course in Rome from 16 – 20 September, 2019, coordinated by Åsa Berggren.

I’ve had the good fortune of teaching on several previous Dialogues with the Past courses (in Athens and Paris on both archaeological and museums themes), and I can say that, from the point of view of an instructor, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s an opportunity to spend time in a small, diverse group talking constructively about PhD researchers’ in-progress studies, with commentary offered both formally by other PhDs who act as respondents, and by questions asked by the teaching team and the other student participants. We dine together and tour local sites together; we do hands-on media development together (in Rome we will experiment with making chatbots ‘of conviction’); and many of us have kept in touch with – and, in fact, have applied for funding and collaborated on other research endeavours with – the graduates of the programme. These long-term connections and friendships are a testament to how incredible the Nordic Graduate School in Archaeology’s DialPast programme is – and a special shout-out is needed for its fabulous coordinator Julianne.

I’ve copied below the call for participants, and I hope you might consider joining Åsa, James, Nico and myself in September! Application deadline = 20 May.

Digital Pasts and Futures of Archaeology

PhD course, Rome, September 16 – 20, 2019

The use of digital methods in archaeology has a decades long history. However, the digitalisation of all aspects of archaeology has increased on a large scale during the last few years. It is changing the foundations of the practice of archaeological documentation and dissemination and influences the processes of archaeological interpretation.

The aim of this course is to keep theoretical and critical engagement with the digital as our centre of attention. As the development of digital methods and applications is quick, so too must we prioritise critical concern for how, why, by whom and for what purpose digital technologies are deployed. Accordingly, the course will have a two fold focus – looking forward and looking back.

On the one hand, we will explore the future development and use of digital methods in archaeology. Our aim is to think ahead to see how digital development will critically impact future archaeological documentation, interpretation, visualisation and sensorial explorations of the past, as well as archiving and data management. The discussion will span projects of various sizes, from examples presented in students’ papers to national and international projects discussed by the course lecturers, e.g. the creation of national digital registers, the cross-European EMOTIVE project (www.emotiveproject.eu), etc.

On the other hand, we will contemplate the development of digital methods in archaeology from a historical perspective. The archaeological record and the use of legacy data depend on a proper understanding of this history. Digitisation is affecting the nature and longevity of archaeological practice. Yet its quick, often reactionary implementation and varied sustainability means that understanding of its historical development is narrow, and hence appreciation of its impact over time is limited. We hope to consider the legacy of digital practices in archaeology, and weave it into a discussion about the archiving of that legacy. Our aim is to consider the implications at both project, national and international levels, critically analysing the conditions for availability, accessibility, searchability, relevance and reuse (e.g., the FAIR data principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability).

The course is supplemented by excursions to local projects and facilities to see digital applications in the field. We will also work hands-on with prototype interpretative tools designed for archaeologists to engage their audiences in critical discussion around archaeological research and data. Participants will draft their own simple digital experiences intended to foster critical reflection and historical perspective taking amongst their users.

Course Work

The course will consist of both seminars and lectures. Before the course starts, each PhD student will prepare a paper for pre-circulation, addressing her or his research project in relation to the course theme. In the course seminars, each paper will be allotted ca. 45 minutes, beginning with the student presenting a 15-minute summary of its contents. This is followed with a 10 min commentary from one of the other PhD students (selected in advance), after which she or he will chair an open discussion on the paper for approximately 20 minutes.

Lecturers

Dr. Åsa Berggren (Lund University)

Ass. Prof. Nicolo Dell’Unto (Lund University)

me (University of York)

Dr. James Taylor (University of York)

The participating lecturers will each give a lecture during the course, as well as participating as prime movers in the discussion of PhD presentations. The seminar days will be structured with adequate time for spin-off debates and networking opportunities in mind.

Credits

1 month or 7 ECTS

Location, Travel and Costs

The Graduate School will finance and arrange travel and accommodation, and supply a daily allowance during the seminar for all participating PhD students who are part of the Dialogues With the Past network as well as participating PhD students from the following Indian and South African institutions: North-Eastern Hills University, Nagaland University, HNB Garhwal University, Sambalpur University, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of the Witwatersrand. Two and two PhD students will share a room.

Registration

The Graduate school invites all registered PhD students to apply for participation. Please follow this link to apply for the course (in English only). From these applications, c. 15 PhD students will be admitted to the course.

For more information, please contact: dial-past@iakh.uio.no

Important Dates

Application for participation: May 20, 2019. Confirmation on your participation will be sent out shortly after this date together with a reading list.

Submission of working papers (10 pages, Times New Roman 12, Spacing 1,5): August 5, 2019.

Appointment of discussants: August 14, 2019.